Apparently the crazy Texas weather strikes again going from the 80’s back down to the 40’s and 50’s last week and this week. I’m ready for summer, but for the meantime I can try out some other soups I didn’t get to this Fall.
This soup is nice and thick and fills you up on a cold day. It’s also a true from scratch recipe which I like to make. Instead of using fresh broccoli I used frozen because I had a bunch in the freezer to use up so it’s a good substitute if you can’t find a nice bunch of fresh at the market.
The recipe from who I got it from is a little chatty so I apologize now if you have to skip over some parts.
Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup
(Adapted from Peas and Crayons)
one bunch of fresh broccoli [enough for a few cups of chopped tops]
2 cups vegetable [or chicken!] stock
1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, plus plenty extra for topping [freshly grated]
1 heaping cup of regular gouda cheese [freshly grated, rind removed]
1 cup of shredded carrots [or a little extra!]
1 small white onion [about 2/3 cup or 1 cup, chopped]
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup half and half [or heavy cream]
3 TBSP all purpose flour
3 TBSP butter
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt [will vary based on salt content of your stock/broth]
a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Feeling fancy? garnish with red pepper flakes [optional!], parsley + sharp cheddar
Gluten-Free? To make this soup gluten-free you can use pureed potato to thicken the soup without using a flour-based roux or use sweet rice flour in place of all purpose flour.
Cheese-based soups and sauces are a bit tricky, since cheese has a borderline multiple personality. It starts out solid, begins to melt, then thickens, then [if temps are too high] jumps right back into solid territory by curdling. Best way to avoid that last little quirk? Use full fat dairy products for your cream base [they stand up to heat better than lowfat dairy], add your dairy products towards the end of the cooking process on a lower heat setting, and also combine sharp cheeses with creamy ones, for better melting and texture. I chose higher quality, full-fat cheeses to ensure maximum flavor and melting. The result? Pure creamy deliciousness!
First chop the veggies. Dice the onions super small, mince the garlic, and shred the carrots if you didn't buy pre-shredded. This can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later. For the broccoli, chop 2/3 of it into tiny florets [just cut off as much stem as you can and it'll fall apart in the pot] and then take the remaining 1/3 and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup. Totally optional!
Add your veggie stock to a pot on medium-high heat, add your 2/3 of your broccoli [about 2 cups of florets] as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf. Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
Once the broth is done, start your roux. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly.
Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.
For a thicker soup, use an extra tablespoon of each. I skipped it. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture [its okay if some of the veggies jump in along side it!] and stir to incorporate.
Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of half and half.
Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered. Spoon out the bay leaf and season with the above herbs and spices, adding a little extra of whichever you like to taste. Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you might skip the salt entirely or prefer to add a bit more -- taste and tweak as needed after adding your cheese. Oh yes -- the cheese! Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses and remove from heat immediately.